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The "Pose" Running Style

Pose running was developed by Nicholas Romanov while teaching at the Physical Education Department of the Chuvash Pedagogical University in 1977 (USSR). He proposes one universal technique for all runners, regardless of speed or distance. A 100 metre sprinter runs with the same underlying technique as a 10km long-distance runner. The technique is designed to prevent undue strain on the joints and requires a great deal of muscular endurance and resilience.

Basic Principles

The distinguishing characteristic of pose running (Romanov 2002)[2] is that the athlete lands on the mid foot, with the supporting joints flexed at impact, and then uses the hamstring muscles to withdraw the foot from the ground, relying on gravity to propel the runner forward. This style is in clear contrast to the heel-strike method that most runners deploy and which is advocated by some health care professionals.

In pose running, the key is to maximise your effort in removing your support foot from the ground; good training is essential to ensure that you do not over-stride or create excessive vertical oscillation. The runner should fall forwards, changing support from one leg to the other by pulling the foot from the ground, allowing minimum effort and producing minimum braking to this body movement. The idea is to maximise the use of gravity to pull the runner forward.

The pose method is centred on the idea that a runner maintains a single pose or position, moving continually forwards in this position. Romanov uses two models to explain the rationale behind pose:

  • the mechanical model - the centre of gravity, which is around the hip position, should move in a horizontal line, without vertical up and down displacement
  • the biological model - the rear leg maintains an 'S-like' form, and never straightens

Perhaps the most useful imagery to help with this technique is to imagine a vertical line coming from the runner's head straight down to the ground. The raised front leg should never breach this line, but remain firmly behind it. This focuses the effort firmly on pulling the ankle up vertically under your hip rather than extending forward with your quads and hip flexors.

Key points of the Pose Running Style

Smith (2005)[1] suggests the following key points:

  1. Raise your ankle straight up under your hip, using the hamstrings
  2. Keep your support time short
  3. Your support is always on the balls of your feet
  4. Do not touch the ground with your heels
  5. Avoid shifting weight over your toes: raise your ankle when the weight is on the ball of your foot
  6. Keep your ankle fixed at the same angle
  7. Keep knees bent at all times
  8. Feet remain behind the vertical line going through your knees
  9. Keep stride length short
  10. Keep knees and thighs down, close together, and relaxed
  11. Always focus on pulling the foot from the ground, not on landing
  12. Do not point or land on the toes
  13. Gravity, not muscle action, controls the landing of the legs
  14. Keep shoulder, hip and ankle in vertical alignment
  15. Arm movement is for balance, not for force production

Referenced Material

  1. SMITH, S. (2005) Pose: a beginner's guide. Peak Performance, 216, p. 1-4
  2. ROMANOV, N. (2002) Pose Method of Running. PoseTech Press

Page Reference

The reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2006) Pose [WWW] Available from: http://www.brianmac.co.uk/pose.htm [Accessed

Associated Pages

The following Sports Coach pages should be read in conjunction with this page: